California Bishop Andrus denied seating at RC archbishop’s installation

By ENS staff
Posted Oct 5, 2012

[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus, an invited guest for the installation of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco Archbishop-designate Salvatore Cordileone, was not allowed to be seated for the Oct. 4 liturgy.

A statement from the diocese said that Andrus “was escorted to a basement room at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral and detained by an usher until the time the service began, whereupon Bishop Andrus left the cathedral.”

The Associated Press reported that, according to the Rev. Joseph Mathews, a diocesan spokesperson, Andrus had been in the basement room with other guests but was left waiting after those people had been seated by ushers. He was still waiting when the installation Mass began, Mathews said. Andrus left after the service began, according to the diocesan statement.

San Francisco archdiocese spokesman George Wesolek told the AP that there had been a misunderstanding. Andrus had arrived late and missed the procession of interfaith clergy who were to be seated up front, he said. Church staff members were looking for an opportunity to bring the bishop in without disrupting the service, according to Wesolek. When they went to retrieve him, he had already left.

“We had no intention of excluding him at all,” Wesolek said. “If he felt like because of the wait that was insulting to him, we certainly will apologize.”

Following Wesolek’s published comments, Andrus denied in a blog post that he was late to the service, saying he arrived earlier than required. When one diocesan employee attempted to seat him along with Greek Orthodox clergy, that employee was stopped by another “who appeared to be in a superior role,” Andrus wrote.

A third employee was instructed to remain with Andrus, he said. When Andrus later told the employee that he felt he should leave, the bishop said that the employee responded by thanking him “for being understanding.”

Three days before the archbishop’s installation on St. Francis Day, Andrus wrote to the Episcopal diocese saying he looked forward to working with Cordileone “when and how we can,” despite their differences on California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure which said that only marriages between one man and one woman are valid in the state.

The voter initiative overturned a state Supreme Court ruling that it was unconstitutional to deny same-gender couples the rights to marry. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals later ruled that Proposition 8 itself was unconstitutional and the U.S. Supreme Court is reportedly due to decide soon whether it will examine that federal court ruling.

All of the Episcopal bishops in the state opposed Proposition 8 while Cordileone, who was bishop of nearby Oakland for the last three-and-a-half years, was seen as a major defender of the Roman Catholic Church’s stances on homosexuality and same-gender marriage, and an early organizer of the Proposition 8 effort. He chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Defense of Marriage Committee.

In his Oct. 1 letter to the diocese, Andrus noted that he and Cordileone “share concerns for the treatment of immigrants to this country and reforming the United States’ immigration policies,” and he expressed his hope that the two could work together on those and anti-poverty issues as he said he had with Cordileone’s predecessor.

“In working together with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, however, I will not change my course with regard to the full inclusion of all people in the full life of the church. I hope that public disagreements can be handled respectfully and that criticisms of public statements may be met with mutual respect,” Andrus wrote. “Some Catholics may find themselves less at home with Salvatore Cordileone’s installation and they may come to the Episcopal Church. We should welcome them as our sisters and brothers. Even as we welcome those who may join us and look for ways to work with our Roman Catholic siblings in the faith, we will not be silenced in our proclamation of God’s inclusion.”

Andrus’ experience came just a few days after Diocese of Newark Bishop Mark Beckwith publically criticized Newark Roman Catholic Archbishop John Meyers’ stance on marriage.

In Cordileone’s homily during the installation Mass, Cordileone encouraged the Roman Catholic archdiocese to work for the renewal of the church by imitating St. Francis’ example of personal holiness and conformity to Christ.

He also said that the United States is a land of freedom to worship and where all persons may “express their faith in the public square, primarily through service to others.”

Meanwhile during the service, the new archbishop said that he was grateful for the messages of support he had received from people of different religious and political viewpoints following an Aug. 25 arrest for drunk driving in his home town of San Diego, according to the Associated Press. Cordileone had been scheduled to appear in court Oct. 9 on the charge of driving under the influence, but the AP reported that court record showed he pleaded guilty Oct. 1 to a reduced charge of reckless driving, an option frequently given to first-time DUI offenders.


Comments (80)

  1. Fr. Darin R. Lovelace says:

    Man bites dog. Typical Episcopal sense of entitlement. If he were a servant of the servants of God, he would have been happy to sit anywhere in the church and shrugged off the misunderstanding. He doth protest WAY too much.

  2. Although I probably come from the opposite side than he does, I agree with Mr. Stray. ENS has standards for its comments and I get that; I’ve got them at my site. But in order to have a debate, you have to let people say what they think. And the fact of the matter is that more honest debate happens here in one week than happens at most other Anglican sites in several months. Big ups to ENS.

  3. William Plummer says:

    It was a big misunderstanding. Will somebody tell me why he could not be seated shorly after he arrived and instead was led to the basement and left there until the service began?

    I thought that excepptions could be made for non-Romans receiving communion. Why could that not have been done in this instance?

    I spite of the RC teaching when I take my wife to church, I receive communion and the priests and eucharistic ministers know that I am Episcopal. Moreover when my wife accompanies me to my church she receives communion and feels she has fulfilled her obligation,

    1. William Tighe says:

      “I thought that exceptions could be made for non-Romans receiving communion. Why could that not have been done in this instance?”

      Such exceptions can only be made when (a) the non-Catholic party professes agreement with Catholic dogmas on the Eucharist, and (b) the non-Catholic party for whatever reason does not have ready access to the Eucharist in his or her own denomination. Catholics are not allowed under any circumstances to receive communion in Protestant denominations (among which it includes Anglicans), although, if permitted to do so, they may receive the Eucharist in certain circumstances in bodies such as the Polish National Catholic Church or such Eastern churches as may allow it (although the only one that does so, I believe, is the so-called “Assyrian” Church). None of these circumstances would appear to apply to you — and clearly your wife’s practice (whatever she may “feel”) is in violation of the canonical norms of the Catholic Church.

    2. John Kirk says:

      Mr. Plummer, with respect, beyond all matters of theology and the canons, ably laid out by Mr. Tighe, this goes to a question of courtesy, much like Bishop Theuner’s immature and overly dramatic reaction to the disciplines with which our Church cares for the Blessed Sacrament and Its reception. Why would you go to someone’s house and do something you knew you were not supposed to do? I guess the answer would be that those priests who permitted it would be culpable, rather than you. Those priests who regularly admit you to Holy Communion know themselves that even in the instance of what may be your gravest need, the Sacrament, all of the Sacraments, are, of themselves, calls to Catholic unity. They serve you poorly by not urging you to that unity and they are dishonest in their lack of obedience to the Church. They are also probably surreptitious and underhanded, because if this was brought to the attention of the local bishop, he would act, at the worst if only because he cynically did not wish for trouble over this matter (he would certainly act if this were brought to the notice of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments). That surreptitiousness alone should give you pause, because if it can’t be done “in the light of day,” it ought not be done at all. I assume you didn’t intend to be discourteous, but let me commend to your attention (and really more to Bishop Theuner’s, since he’s the one who got into a snit over the Church’s sacramental discipline) a possible example of how to act on such an occasion: During Pope Benedict’s relatively recent state/pastoral visit to the United Kingdom, the Holy Father attended, with the Archbishop of Canterbury and a huge number of other guests, a service at Westminster Abbey. He was greeted by a number of dignitaries at the Abbey doors, among them one C of E lady clergyperson wearing a cope and then several others lady clergypersons of the Reformation tradition in their various vestments and lack thereof. Now, anyone who hasn’t been in a coma for the last thirty years knows that our beloved Holy Father doesn’t remotely believe that women can serve as clergy persons or priests. So what was his reaction? Did he act like he’d come over all light-headed and faint? No. Did he take the opportunity, unlikely to be offered again, to lecture Dr. Williams or the ladies themselves on what the world would reckon he thought to be a grievous error? No. Did he fall on the Abbey floor laughing hysterically? No. Did he huff off in a tantrum at the earliest possible moment and fire off a whiney encyclical to the bishops and priests of the world? No. He courteously shook the hand the lady clergyperson offered him, with a warm smile on his face. He seemed to understand that he was on THEIR turf, so as far as his conscience allowed, he did things THEIR way. Not a bad lesson.

      Regarding your good lady’s “feeling” that she has fufilled her obligation as a Roman Catholic to assist on the Lord’s Day, or the Vigil thereof, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Feelings are unreliable and inconstant. A great deal of what is truly regretable in this world is the result of someone acting on a feeling, especially when there is a tendency to confuse “feelings” with the workings of the Holy Spirit. In this instance, again with all due respect, the feeling is contrary to fact and the obligation is not fufilled.

  4. Maxine Schell says:

    Any time I start longing for PECUSA, I read something like this, which reminds me that PECUSA is no more, & I can never again be part of TEC. God, forgive us.

  5. Sue Goldwater says:

    May I respectfully point out that, while one has no objection to a bishop exclaiming online in Yiddish, the expression is ‘Oy vey’ (in various spellings, since Yiddish normally uses Hebrew script and it has to be transcribed for English speakers).

    May I less respectfully point out that Douglas Theuner’s understanding of RC doctrine and practices seems about as accurate as his knowledge of Yiddish.

  6. Eli Stearn says:

    Didn’t we Episcopalians just go through a big fol-de-rol at General Convention and affirm that access to our eucharists (memorial ? consubstantial ?) remain clearly limited (if not in fact, at least theoretically) to only baptized Christians and that even our generously welcoming “table” is still far from “open” ?

    And now we have (The Rt. Rev.) Theuner taking the occasion of the Andrus incident to launch into a diatribe at the “Romans” for continuing to maintain differing qualifications for access to their eucharists (held by them to be occasions of transubstantial transformation, not just a dress-up dinner parties for invited friends of the clergy) ?

    Perhaps a greater part of the triennial budget should be devoted to funding continuing theological education for senior clergy.

  7. John Kirk says:

    Let me guess: You feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the widow and the orphan and the prisoner in their distress, right? Gosh, we do that, too! And we’ve done it for 2,000 years (gotta love how the liberals, the progressives, and the heterodox think they have a lock on the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25)! We didn’t wait around until the UN came up with the Millenium Development Goals, either. We also managed to do it while remaining true to the Faith as it was handed down by the Apostles, we managed to do it without telling people untruths about themselves (“You don’t have to change, you’ve already been recieved!”), untruths that could well lead them into that darkness where God is not.

    Multitasking: The Church has been doing it since the Ascension.

  8. Jessica Dye says:

    Mr. Kirk, are you familiar with the internet term “trolling”? I wonder because you are doing a stellar job at it!

    Incase anyone is unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia defines it, in part, as:
    “… a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[3] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[4] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[5]”

    I urge the rest of you to please, stop feeding the troll…in other words, simply pray for him and do not reply.

    Back to the topic!
    I was more than a bit taken aback by the title of the article compared to its contents. It’s not like us to be inflammatory to get attention. Perhaps a “was not seated” would have been better than “denied seating”. I’m unfamiliar with the Bishop in question, but care deeply for the topic of inter-faith relations. If this thread is any indication, neither side is doing a very good job.

    May God ease our hearts, and help us find love for one another.

    1. John Kirk says:

      Wow, and are you certain that aren’t any of what you call trolls on the other side of the argument? Archbishop Cordileone shouldn’t have been defended? Did you READ what Bishop Theuner said?!?! And I’d invite you to go to Bishop Marc’s blog and read his remarks about the establishment of the Ordinariate (he refers to it as the “diocese of the unhappy”). IF I am a troll, I think I’d be acquitted of being the only one! And any honest person would admit some of the others were dressed in purple cassocks! I think, Ms Dyesays, that your approach to people you don’t agree with is to try and shut them up.

    2. Michael McCoy, M.Div. says:

      I think you are right. Let us not feed the trolls.

  9. Christine Wendt says:

    A few months ago I swore off reading any and all posted comments on YouTube videos forever because (even on the kitten videos!) they were a minefield of hate, paranoia, and other things I was tired of immersing myself in. More recently I’ve stopped reading the comments on several blogs I otherwise enjoy for the same reason. Martin Luther, who God and the rest of us know had his flaws, as do we all, had something wonderful to say in his explication regarding the commandment not to bear false witness. In his Small Catechism he says it entails “putting the best construction on everything.” I can’t claim to be any better than lousy at that myself, but the comments on this issue are hardly setting a good example for me. This is one more forum whose comments fields I’m unfortunately swearing off.

    1. Jessica Dye says:


      Please don’t swear off the ENS reply posts. In the time I’ve been reading them this is genuinely the worst I’ve ever seen it get. Granted, I might have missed other flame-filled threads, but generally the posts are respectful and often the conversation is enlightening.

      My husband thinks I’m a bit daft for reading the response posts on any site, he’s determined that reply/response posts are where “the bottom half of the internet dwells”. This thread may prove him at least, in part, correct.

      God bless and keep you, and may you find peace within the whirlwind of the world wide web.


  10. William Plummer says:

    Mr. Kirk,

    What is your problem?

    1. John Kirk says:

      Mr. Plummer,

      If Ms. Dye will permit, I’ll venture an answer.

      First, if I have offended I apologize (well, obviously I know I have offended). My problem was that I allowed myself to become angry, from the first post. I have been VERY angry and still am a bit angry over most of the posts in this thread, first to last. There seems to have been an automatic assumption, a knee-jerk acceptance as fact that Archbishop Cordileone was guilty first of gross manners in not recieving an invited guest and then of dupliciousness in that he directed his staff to lie about it (“Perhaps Archbishop Cordileone should have asked himself “what would Jesus do”? Denying Bishop Andrus a seat and then having his spokesperson lie about it is probably not the right answer,” and “While I’ve historically supported ecumenism, this action by the Archdiocese of San Francisco seems both insulting and intentional. I’ll bet they would have seated Rowan Williams, given his repudiation of the American Church, especially the Presiding Bishop” and yet again, “Before even being installed, the new archbishop brought shame, shame, shame on himself and his diocese by this petty and insulting behavior. Who could possibly doubt that this episode was anything but his doing. Bishop Andrus, on the other hand, acted with grace and dignity in a situation that could only have been humiliating, if not enraging”). I readily admit that I should have addressed the NATURE of these remarks, their constructs and so forth, rather than treat this as an occasion to be offensive (which I do not regularly seek out), but the more I read (and not merely here, I went to Bishop Andrus’ blog and read what he had to say about not only Archbishop Cordileone, but also Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Ordinariate, the Holy See, etc), the angrier I became.

      On the subject of the Archbishop, I cannot imagine, in simple reason, that this was more than a snafu. Why? The man had already messed up. He was pulled over by a law enforcement officer and his blood alcohol level was found to be over the legal limit. He’s coming in with that strike against him. He’ll be watching his “p’s and q’s,” as it were. He’s not well-like by a vocal part of the population and there’s nothing he can do about that, not without comprimising his own conscience and betraying the Church (regardless of what you think of the Church’s stand, which was again the stand of the entire Judeo-Christian tradition up until a relatively short time ago and which is still the stance of the majority of those who still rejoice in the adjective “Anglican). It’s a built-in, a given. So I rather imagine that even if he read Bishop Andrus’ little welcome and was as offended as I was, as other Catholics were, as even some Anglicans undoubtedly were, Archbishop Cordileone would behave himself, would go as far as he COULD, to the point of his conscience, in making sure he was as conciliatory as he could be, because he already knows how NOT conciliatory he’s going to have to be. Short summary: he’s not going to have a group hug and photo-op with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, but he’s not going to deliberately go out of his way to do what so many here seem to automatically assume he will do.

      None of this, however, excuses the degree to which I allowed myself to become angry. I disagree, quite vehemently, with the moral direction I see being taken in the Episcopal Church (of which I was once a part and which gave me many cherished gifts). I am also convinced of the truth of the Catholic Faith. Neither my disagreement with that direction nor my conviction of the Truths of Holy Mother Church excuses clumsily beating Episcopalians over the head with what I percieve are their current errors because I’m ticked off. And so for that I apologize, as far as I have offended any innocent here. I do not retract one point of the Faith and I firmly believe that Andrus (and Theuner) are being disingenious (and I should know, we have so many disingenous bishops of our own), but otherwise, I ask your pardon.

  11. Rt. Rev. Douglas E. Theuner says:

    OY VEZ…..!…..I HOPE SO!!!!!! If your not going to feed me, please don’t INVITE me just because you’re suppsed to be( nice and cordial. I don’t believe I’ve ever eaten a meal “offered” begrudgingly. Prior to JP II it was generally not a problem and I always told the celebrant who I was and ASKED HIS PERMISSION before receiving (e.g. at an English Mass in The chapel at Peter’s Tomb ‘neath St. Peter’s, Rome; at a Latin Mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulcer, Jerusalem). If told not to receive, I don’t; just stay quietly and make my Spiritual Comminion, Of course, here I’m talking about being a tourist who “just slowed up”; not a person generally respected elsewhere in the community, WHO WAS INVITED! For the record, I don’t encourage clergy or lay members of OTHER “Faith Communities” to violate the laws of their own sect +Doug Theuner

  12. William Plummer says:

    1 Corinthians 11:29 poses mo problem for me

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